Olympic trials: Punjab judoka flays inadequate preparation time

Olympian Avtar Singh has criticised the functioning of the Judo Federation of India (JFI) for not following National Sports Development Code 2011 and International Judo Federation (IJF) rules while holding national selection trials for the Olympic qualifying competitions, including Asian Oceania Championship, held on February 9 and 10 here.

In a letter addressed to JFI general secretary Man Mohan Jaiswal, Singh, who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has pointed out that competitors were just given five days to prepare for the trials meant for the prestigious competitions like the Olympic qualifiers, held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

“Making travel plans in time of the pandemic are very challenging. I would like to raise an objection regarding the national selection trials as five days is too less a time to mentally and physically prepare because athletes have to cut down on the body weight before the weighing in,” wrote the international from Punjab in his email.

Singh also referred to the guidelines of Sports Code 2011 that say that all the NSFs should announce the dates of the trials or competition one month in advance. “But the dates for the Asian Oceania and other Olympic qualification rounds were declared a week before the trials,” he said.

“According to the JFI circular, players should be present for their weighing-in on the same date of their bouts whereas the Sports Organising Rules of IJF say it should be done one day prior to the competition. This hints at the JFI technical team ignoring the rules,” he said in his communication to the federation.

JFI general secretary Man Mohan Jaiswal declined to comment. “I can’t take a call on the issue. I’ve forwarded his email to the JFI president, Partap Singh Bajwa, for his comments,” Jaiswal told IANS.